What a photographer's day is like.


Wow, you take photos for a living, that's soo cool. It must be awesome traveling and making your own schedule. Did you get to eat that after you took the photos! Wow did they pay you to fly there and take photos of that? That's an awesome camera, it must have cost a lot. You have that many lenses. 

So I get a lot of the same things repeated to me time and time over. People remark at how amazing and fun it must be to do what I do. But the fact is, it is. But... taking the photos is really only ten percent of what I do. Marketing, post processing, phone calls, e-mails, spending money on things that are and aren't tangible as well as hoping clients make their way to you if you're doing everything the correct way.  I'm going to run through some of the basics of what I do and dive into some of it and gloss over the other parts. 

I do get to make my own schedule. I wake up whenever I want, in fact I don't even set an alarm anymore. I just happen to wake up as soon as the sun comes up and my brain automatically activates and goes back to whatever I should be working on or left off on. When I wake up it's a shower, slide on my stylish clothes and Apple Watch and off to Starbucks to have a Venti Cafe Mocha. I wear the same red hat everywhere I go so that i'm easy to find, recognize and meet. I also wear a unitymike.com t-shirt on the off chance that someone wants to talk to me about hiring me. On my way down to Starbucks i'll call my photographer friends and we bitch to each other about the business. We all run into the same problems, clients who don't want to pay, clients that we're still waiting for them to pay and the clients that say they can pay less somewhere else. This topic is rehashed every few weeks or months as time dictates. This photographer friend and I will talk sometimes several times a day. We run numbers by each other and situations to get another perspective. We also share a lot of information such as negotiation tactics and we talk a lot of gear. 

Once at Starbucks I sit down and play on Facebook. I have my noise canceling headphones on which are absolutely necessary to focus on tasks.  So, when I say play on Facebook I really mean sort through my business page's messages or posts and find people who have tried to contact me. Clients contact me through, text message, phone calls, Instagram, Google+, my personal Facebook page, a Facebook thread or my Facebook business page. While on Facebook I'll also post a link to my website which I really need people to visit. I'm also taking a nice selfie photo or photo of my drink. I need likes, I need people to follow me and be remembered when they or their friends get engaged. Some of my marketing strategy is to go exciting places, eat amazing food, have fun experiences and share these. Facebook's algorithm will note if someone hovers over a photo a bit or clicks on something you posted and adjust it so you show more often in their newsfeed. This means when I post things people are seeing it. I write out a blog or two to put on my website because it actually boosts me up in Google, makes my SEO a little bit better. I also schedule a post or two for my Facebook's business page. I sort through my photos on my computer and pull out a few photos and send them to my phone so that I can post on Instagram a little bit later. The Instagram photos will have to include a nice description, location and some relevant hashtags. 

I send a few e-mails, responding back to anyone who has asked me anything. I'm very prompt with this. If I have an e-mail from a potential bride and I don't answer with in short few hours they will move on to the photographer who does answer.  My futuristic tech that I wear around my wrist is not so much to show off a toy as it is used to get e-mail notifications and text messages. I hate staring at my phone for any length of time.

I have to swing by my office to drop off some flyers that came in. I straighten out my office which comes at a nice discount. Other people have been in my office to use my giant tv. I clean up desk, arrange everything for new clients coming in. My forms are getting a little low in stock and I have to sit down and revise and reprint a new stack. I keep adding more to my forms to help me. While at my office I also have to visit with my landlord of sorts to go over his projects and what he needs done. I help out where I can. 

I have to take a drive to a clients house now because they need a family portrait.  Everything is loaded into my car, lights, camera, action. I head to the clients house where I set up, pose, photograph and repeat half a dozen time with various locations on their property. We have a good time, i'm paid and now everything needs to be packed up and brought back home and deconstructed back into it's case.  On my way back home i'm calling a client of mine who I help out at their office. I do everything from ordering supplies to photo and video and web design and consulting work. I check and see if they need anything or if theres anything upcoming that I need to get ready for. Nothing to do there, so no problem. 

I'm having clients in my car later in the week which means that my car which is also used to transport gear from Maine to Florida is nice and clean. Also, earlier I got a good deal of dirt in my car because the clients driveway was muddy. So wiping the seats down, vacuuming, sorting the contents of my trunk space as well as topping off fluids are on my to do list either today or another. 

During lunch I may eat at my dream place, Coney Island Hot Dogs or go down to The Fix. I'm going to pig out and enjoy it. I've earned it. I've been up since seven working on things.  During lunch i'm browsing on Amazon looking for little things that I've been putting off ordering and finally plunge into my wallet to accommodate myself. I also take any phone calls during my lunch time throughout the week. My phone rings about a dozen times a day with clients and also telemarketers. I can't tell the difference between a safe number and unsafe number because local numbers have been bought up to get a better hit rate.  The reason I mention this is I get to go to my favorite places to eat but a majority of the time my food gets cold. I don't let calls go to voicemail when possible because no one wants to wait and I also depend on clients coming in regularly.  I still manage to take photos of my food which more often than not leads to my food losing it's ideal temperature. 

After lunch I'm beat, worn out and ready to quit. I usually take a nice two hour nap or more. This is interrupted by the occasional phone call and I also wake up at some point and roll over and check my phone for reciprocated e-mails from clients. If I get a call from a bride or e-mail from a bride my goal is to set up a meeting asap, that means later in the day or early the next day or whenever they want. Once I'm awake I recharge again with coffee and a snack. I'm editing photos now for a gig I shot the night prior. I've spent a little part of the day making sure I have everything backed up, previews loaded and basic adjustments made across the board. I get a phone call from a print shop saying the custom frames I ordered are in, i'm still waiting to be paid for them by the client. I have to head over and pick them up and then notify my client they are in and softly nudge them to be ready to have their wallet ready. In case of any questions I have to go back to my computer and dig up the original invoice I sent them. I have several invoices out in fact totaling enough to pay my incoming bills, rent, subscriptions, insurance. 

I'm also waiting on my insurance agent to find me a more affordable insurance for my gear which I pay almost two hundred dollars a month for. I pace around my apartment, straightening things out, organizing my equipment and staring at my giant three by four foot white board. I regularly fill this board up with upcoming tasks, notes, reminders and dates. Anything that i've taken a note for has to be put into my phone and computer for redundancy, thats on my to-do list. I put on my nice Bose noise canceling headphones and pace around my apartment conquering small and mundane tasks to the bigger ones. I have a phone call to make and I spend thirty minutes circling my couch talking to a bride and narrowing down a meeting time. I have to cross check my calendar with a list of weddings to make sure I have time to meet later this week and have her wedding date free.  She can meet today in fact which is wonderful. This was a good phone call. About seven or eight times a year I get a phone call from a bride who loves my photos and she's very excited to meet with me and then tells me her wedding date. I cross check her wedding date and i'm already booked. I have a couple go-to photographers which I send brides that I cannot take. I'm careful who I send brides to because it will fall back on me if anything goes wrong. I send most of my brides to a photographer friend out in Boston. 

I head to my office for the second time today, I'm early. I turn on my tv, my apple tv, bluetooth speaker, set Spotify to modern wedding playlist, set up my Macbook to connect with the TV and get the form out and write out all the information I have at the moment. She should be here any minute, okay ten minutes ago, thirty minutes ago, text, phone call, nothing. I get a text message letting me know she'll be late. I've now been here for an hour and it's dark out by now. She arrives, we hit it off and I go through my entire pitch, I feel good about it. I head home and after dinner I sit and write up a contract and send a follow up e-mail regarding our meeting and everything we talked about. I don't know if she's going to go with me or not. I don't typically do follow up messages because it can easily put someone in that awkward position of saying they're going with someone else but thanks for... you get the idea. 

I'm now uploading photos from the gig I shot the day prior. There's a lot of photos going up so It throttles by data which means Netflix and Hulu won't work on my TV. So shower and head back to my TV to be reminded of this. I end up sitting at my computer browsing through Facebook's newsfeed and get lost in Instant Karma videos on Youtube. I'm also kicking myself to be productive still at eleven at night. I'm making a circuit between my workstation where my Macbook and main computer are to my white board looking for more tasks to finish. I write a few more things on my board that need to get finished. There's a lot of things that just require sitting and writing or following up with people about projects. The rest of my time is spent sitting on my couch with my cats swiping through Bumble to meet someone. It's hard to meet someone when you're schedule is composed of the entire day and night. Basically this app leads into a huge time suck of non productivity which re-guilts me into a productive whirlwind.  

Sleep either can be wonderful because i've accomplished so much or terrible because I still have so much to accomplish. I've disallowed any news on Trump before bed because that makes my sleep even worse. The best part of my day though is having my cats follow me onto my bed and lay next to me. They have no idea what I've done today or the day prior no matter how many times i've tried to explain it to them. That's a very calming thing, two little cats who's day tomorrow is packed with sleeping and eating. Maybe i'm in the wrong profession. 

So this is exactly how any day goes for the most part. The details may change, some days are less and some days are more. The tasks are different but each day I get thrown a puzzle and have to put it together. If I ever clear my white board of things that I should be doing that I feel uneasy and anxious because there is something I can be doing and I have to figure that out asap. There is no rest. But the best part of any of this is whenever I want I can take the day off. I can shut down and do nothing. But most every single day goes from seven in the morning to past midnight. It means I can take a vacation wherever I want on a moments notice but I also better keep a watch on social media and e-mail during that.